R10m plan to test water quality

OR Tambo district municipality (ORTDM) has roped in the Amatola Water Board Scientific Services to help monitor the standard of water it delivers to communities in the district.

CHECKING STANDARDS: O R Tambo municipality is to be assisted by the Amatola Water Board to monitor its water supplied to communities. Picture: SUPPLIED

The partnership, which will span 36 months, has been allocated about R10-million, according to a notice published in the Daily Dispatch last week.

“OR Tambo district municipality has a huge task of ensuring that water which is supplied to the communities and effluent which is discharged to the streams is strictly monitored and analysed on a timeous basis to ensure that it is credible and meets minimum standards as per regulations from the Department of Water and Sanitations standards and latest South African National Standards 241,” stated the notice.

“Hence the district municipality aims to ensure that it adheres to compliance with strict regulations.”

The board’s scientific services unit will reportedly provide support by monitoring, analysing, sampling and reporting on the quality of water within the district.

In addition, Amatola will assist in helping the district municipality to establish its own scientific services laboratory.

Speaking to the Saturday Dispatch yesterday, district municipal spokesman Ayongezwa Lungisa said the R10-million budget for the contract would come from the equitable share allocation as well as their own coffers spread over a period of three years.

He said while the district authority had been supplying clean water, which has been monitored internally in its own water treatment plants, the partnership with Amatola would allow them to get an independent view from an independent laboratory.

“This process will further increase confidence of the community in our water as results from the independent lab will be published quarterly.”

While both local business and ratepayers welcomed the idea of checking up on the quality of water, they raised concerns with the manner in which municipal bosses had gone into a contract without informing them first.

Mthatha Ratepayers and Residents Association spokesman Madyibi Ngxekana criticised the district municipality for forging ahead with its plans without involving ordinary citizens.

“Yes it’s [checking on the quality of water] a necessity. But the problem is they don’t come down and talk to the people on the ground and try to make them understand.

“They only call us when they feel like it,” he fumed, adding that this went against the requirements as per the Municipal Systems Act of 2000 which compels municipalities to ensure that there is public participation on matters pertaining to service delivery.

“It’s not acceptable at all.”

Meanwhile, OR Tambo District Chamber of Business president Vuyisile Ntlabati questioned whether district authorities had checked if there were any local business people within the district who could perform the same job that Amatola would be required to perform.

“If there is no one locally, then that is fine, but they should always make sure that they keep in mind that local businesses benefit,” he added. — sikhon@dispatch.co.za

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